Performance Plus recognizes that schools in neighbourhoods affected by poverty can be exemplary places to learn. Twenty elementary schools across York Region are identified as Performance Plus (P+)schools. These schools are located in neighbourhoods where a greater number of children and families are living in poverty.
Additional staffing resources are provided to Performance Plus schools, including a Performance Plus teacher and a child and youth worker. The addition of Performance Plus staff supports both student academic achievement and promotes a positive sense of mental health and well-being.In addition, Community and Partnership Developers supporting Performance Plus schools,work to identify barriers and help close opportunity gaps for students. They liaise with school personnel, community agencies and families and they coordinate and facilitate the deployment of community resources and assets to schools while promoting parent, family and community engagement initiatives through various community development strategies and community partnerships.
To help mitigate the impacts of poverty, staff supporting Performance Plus schools work together to create safe and positive environments for students and their families. Both innovative school based programs and ongoing relationships with community partners ensure Performance Plus schools have access to:
- nutrition; breakfast and snack programs;
- after school and enhancement programs for students such as art, recreation, well-being and mentoring, a focus on preschool and early years programming; and
- opportunities for family learning and sharing such as Triple P Parenting, stress and mental health workshops, transition supports for newcomer families, cultural awareness events and school community celebrations.
All Performance Plus schools offer a half day, four week, school readiness program during the month of July. Building Blocks for Kindergarten is designed for Junior Kindergarten students entering school in September who may have had little or no preschool experience. The Building Blocks for Kindergarten program is facilitated by a Kindergarten teacher and an Early Childhood Educator (ECE).Performance Plus Community and Partnership Developers ensure a parent engagement and learning component is also provided and facilitated by community partner agencies and groups.
In addition, all Performance Plus schools participate in the "Welcome to Kindergarten Program. This program provides parent information sessions at each Performance Plus school and includes resources for families and learning materials for all children entering Junior Kindergarten each fall.
Summer Institutes for Kids, a summer learning program for JK-Grade 8 students, takes place for six weeks in 11 neighbourhoods across York Region. The goal of the Summer Institute for Kids program is to provide extended learning opportunities for children and enhance student achievement and well-being. A combination of academic, art, technology, physical and health education and recreation is included in the program. Partnerships with community groups, such as Public Health, Regional Conservation Authorities and the Regional of York, support and enhance this summer learning program.Many sites incorporate activities that provide alternative approaches to the skills outlined in the Ontario curriculum.
Parents, caregivers and staff at Performance Plus schools can expect:
- collaboration with community partners to collectively focus on the strengths and needs of students and their families before they reach schools;
- strong support for transition to school; and
- culturally inclusive practices for all children(particularly in those neighbourhoods where a large number of immigrant families have chosen to settle) including outreach and engagement with parents in different languages and in ways that are inclusive of different cultures.
Updated November 2019